Humour as an antidote to anxiety and dark thoughts?

I am a great believer in the importance of humour for good mental health.

My psychologist once said that one of the first things/capacities that we lose to mental distress is the capacity to appreciate the funny side of things…I think there is a lot of truth in that…I certainly forgot how to laugh and smile whilst I was severely depressed for nearly two years back in 2008-2010…my psychologist also said that regaining the capacity to appreciate humour is an important sign of recovery/getting well…again I think she is right…

Since I slowly started getting well back in 2010, I have found great pleasure in reading comic books/graphic novels… interestingly, I never read a comic book as a child…the first comic book/graphic novel  I read (back in 2010) is Depresso or How I Learned to Stop Worrying  and Embrace Being Bonkers by John Clark (Brick); I loved Depresso as it is perhaps the best and most insightful book ever written on mental health care by a sufferer… it reduced me both to hysterical laughter and tears…it is transgressive and rebellious and I loved that…



Since Depresso I read things like Clare in the Community, Politically Correct Bedtime Stories, How are you feeling? etc…I found these witty, hilarious and transgressive too…






December and January are particularly difficult months for me… It was during and after Christmas 2008 that my severe depression and suicidality reached a critical point…and I was sectioned on 28th January 2009 for 3 months…

I had an anxious dream a couple of days ago (mid-December) that in my mind signified loss…what I remember from the dream is that one of my teeth broke…my mum says that dreaming of your teeth (or your hair)  falling out is a bad omen…I thought that during December 2008 and January 2009 indeed very ominous  things happened to me and my family…December will always represent an anniversary of loss for me…and hence my anxious dream perhaps…

Following  the night of the anxious dream I came across the Christmas card below on one of the e-card websites…I thought it was pretty funny…I also thought that my life is very different now compared to what it was like back in December 2008…now I can laugh and enjoy things…and I can use humour as an antidote to anxiety and dark thoughts…I can stay with and process anxiety and dark thoughts (I still experience them from time to time) but at the same time I know there is a funny side to things  too which I can fully appreciate…




  • an ,

    Hi Dina

    I have always enjoyed political cartoons , even at my lowest – relief that someone else, the cartoonist, could see beyond the surface of things, the ironies, hypocrisies, for example.

    I enjoyed the Christmas card. One of my pleasures , probably some twenty years ago (!!) was to browse the Christmas Cards and postcards at what used to be Grassoots bookshop, next to On The Eighth Day on Oxford Road (it later became Frontline Books and moved).There used to be a table covered in cards. I have quite a collection but what is rather worrying is that I no longer feel comfortable displaying them – of wearing my politics on my shoulder for all to see? They used to take pride of place above my fire place. But such cards and bookshops disappeared – to re-emerge maybe on the internet? I must have a look.

    Until recently there was a disability magazine from the US, Mouth, which used to have some great mental health cartoons. One of my favorites was some someone saying – he’s bi-polar ; personally, I’m tropical!

    • Dina ,

      Hi, Anne
      thanks for this. I had a look at the Mouth magazine on the web, it seems that it had/has really good stuff on. I would be also interested in seeing your political card collection :-))
      talk soon